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While we're discussing horsemeat in frozen foods
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Posted February 13, 2013 at 12:42AM
others are getting on with the job of destabilising the world.
It's a demonstration of what can happen when a deluded, all-powerful youngster at the helm of a totalitarian state starts messing with stuff he doesn't understand.
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Posted February 13, 2013 at 5:13PM
and its not just cars Kia and Hyundai
South Korean economy is the 11th largest economy in the world and the third largest in Asia.
South Korean industries include: the textile and steel sectors; shipbuilding; car manufacturing and electronics (especially semiconductors, of which South Korea is the world’s largest producer).
South Korea is leader in the IT sector. Leading firms in this sector are Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics.
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Posted February 14, 2013 at 2:17AM
I am an ambassador for the South Korean Department of Justice and have visited Hyundai Heavy Industries plant and Hyundai Motors Plant in Ulsan on the eastern side of S Korea they are both huge. I toured the shipbuilding part of the HHI and they are building ships 500m long. It started with the original owner Chung Ju Yun taking a massive gamble. He took two large orders for shipbuilding when he didn't even have a shipyard. He got a loan from Barclays with no qualifications and Barclays took the risk. It is now the 3rd largest shipbuilding yard in the world. He then set up Hyundai Motors which has the largest car plant in the world in Ulsan, making many many cars every day. in fact 6,000 a day. The family broke apart after his death and his assets were split between his sons.
The Hyundai family also owns high class department stores that are the equal of Harrods. each one has a culture hall and I have performed in many of them. The Hyundai story is quite a story, and the Korean people have a strong work ethic. "Face" enters politics and social and work life and this makes relationships in the Asian area very difficult. It's common across Asia, but is particularly pronounced in Korea and Japan. It's one of the reasons why it is quite difficult to get a sensible answer as they are reluctant to say no as it disturbs harmony and forces someone to lose face. Basically if someone changes the subject when you ask for something, take it as a no.
The Face issue - not losing Face is part of what keeps the conflict going. There is often posturing in order to give the impression of not backing down resulting in loss of face. This makes for stubborn truculent negotiations. It's a very complex area. The people of the south have a feeling of 'Han'. It's an expression of sorrow of separation from their kin. Whole families are separated. Some manage to escape from the North at great risk to themselves and find themselves homeless.
This means that there is a conundrum. The South wants reunification. They have a ministry of reunification. But discussions often have large preconditions and there is large distrust and paranoia which the whole 'face' issue exacerbates. I have been to Korea 10 times and am due to go back there in May. It is a beautiful country with high mountains and beautiful coastlines.
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Posted February 14, 2013 at 2:19AM
Korean people in the south also never describe themseves as 'south' korean. Simply "Korean". in their hearts they don't accept the separation. It's the same in the north but each have their own determination of what a united Korea would be.
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Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:48AM
Neither Korean nor Japanese has a direct word for no. Japanese just doesn't have one whereas the Korean word is the same as "Sorry". While it is rarely said, it can be demonstrated through attitude and this encourages things to fester.
This I think is an extra complication that the area doesn't need, but is inbuilt into their culture. There are many intracacies that i have witnessed by observation. All of these play on the Asian Psyche and on the Korean one in particular, especially as it is divided by war and mistrust. It's very much one step forward two steps back. Especially if there is an election in the south as the Government will not want to appear weak or else it would not get elected. This led to a hard line from the South in the recent elections which strained things further.
The North makes these noises because it is perceived as being backward and wants to prove the world wrong to avoid losing face. It has of course already done that by using violent threats, but it won't admit that as it won't accept it. This whole feeling feeds across the whole of Asia, Iran etc as well but not as obviously as in South East Asia, but it is there. If you force them to lose face then it is like backing a feral cat into a wall. He will use all means to escape. This is the challenge that the US and the UK have from the middle east to Asia.
It's complex and often gets tilted by election campaigns in the east and the west, as the West also doesn't want to lose face but expresses it in different ways.
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Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:30AM
All that makes the Berlin Wall years sound like they nothing at all.
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Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:55AM
Isn't it strange how history repeats itself.
We heard of the Cuban crisis (which some of us might have been personally involved?), then the Iran crisis, and a few more in between.
But when you sit down and think or look at it, what does it always mean. The answer is very simple, and that's a question of power or showing teeth, with a back-off sign attached. There's no point in stating that "a deluded all-powerful youngster at the helm of a totalitarian state starts messing with stuff he doesn't understand". Because he is only being guided or manipulated by 'trained experts and professionals', as was his father, and the same principles apply elsewhere world-wide, even here in the UK, Europe, Russia or the USA.
I recall many years ago, when Israel and the neighbouring Arabic states were in conflict, and Jordan stepped in as the all powerful negotiator for peace. Remarks made to me at the time was one of "Roar a Lion- Squeak of a Mouse". And this type of statement or sentiment is possibly active world-wide in times of conflict or concern?.
For a starter,perhaps think no further that Tony Blair and Iraq, and consider what happened and still is happening there!.
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Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:32AM
If you could eliminate politics from diplomacy, the world would be a safer place. The problem is that politics and power go hand in hand, and these always become more important than true diplomacy. Diplomacy is often used not only to settle differences but for a large nation to increase its influence, and by reflection it's power and wealth. This is why there are often accusations 0of imperialism against the west when it rightly or wrongly gets involved in a situation.
The mistake comes when the West assumes that the solution to a problem is simpler than it really is. It's not always about removing a 'tyrant' as you run the real risk of a power vacuum. I wouldn't want to be the person deciding strategies at the UN security council, but often the internal politics of the UN security council makes it ineffective. Because of international media and how world leaders wish to be remembered, things are often done in a way that makes them look good, or like they have done something about it rather than doing what is right.
When one nation gets involved in another nation's affairs, for it to be truly effective it need to do the best thing for the people in that nation. Instead what is done is done for the 'greater good' of others and they hope that it will also work for those inside the country. In an ideal world, things would be different. Of course we don't live in Utopia. Therefore life is complicated. It's nations' refusal to accept complications that leads us into dangerous circumstances. North Africa is now a real melting pot, and is very close for comfort.
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Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:48AM
I fully agree with 11.32am your post, but I wonder how many others would find fault, because they think or should I suggest, that they know far better about how the world, its real politics and how its leaders work?.
I don't know how it applies to you, and your world travels. But in my world-wide travelling days, passport control or visas, entering another country all had there own little problems, especially if one country didn't like or had various 'problems' with another?.
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Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:06PM
I have two passports so if I have to go to Israel I can use a different passport for other states. The main reason for me having two passports though is because I often have to travel when a passport is in an embassy for a visa. A good way to confuse immigration is to enter the country with passport 1 and try to leave with passport 2. In Korea it really bemused them. US know about all the passports I have on scanning any of them.
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